CyberPower Gamer Xtreme 8500: Fine Performance at a Very Fine Price
At a Glance
CyberPower Gamer Xtreme 8500
CyberPower's Gamer Xtreme 8500 might not lead its highly competitive category, but you can't argue with the price.
The CyberPower Gamer Xtreme 8500 offers a great price-to-performance ratio, keeping up with the best and brightest of the performance desktop category at a price that undercuts most of the pack. It might not top the charts, but for a respectable $1499 (as of November 4, 2010), it doesn't really need to. It shines as a great option for someone on a limited budget who is looking for a well-equipped machine.
The Gamer Xtreme 8500 we reviewed was equipped with a 2.93GHz Core i7-875K CPU, 4GB of DDR3 RAM, a Blu-ray drive, and a pair of nVidia GTS 450 graphics cards in SLI. It earned a WorldBench 6 score of 155. That mark puts it well behind its heftier cousin, the CyberPower Black Pearl (with a score of 171), as well as behind Digital Storm's Black Ops Assassin (with a mark of 172). But it also doesn't share those systems' price tags.
On the storage side of things, you get a 1TB hard drive, while a 40GB solid-state drive houses the operating system. You'll benefit from quick boot times, but the paltry size of the SSD is a bit disconcerting. Two hot-swappable bays reside on the front of the machine, but they hide behind a rather stiff locking mechanism--every time I opened the bay door, I worried that I might accidentally break it off. The trays that the removable drives sit on are also a bit cumbersome to remove and reinsert.
Stellar graphics performance is expected from the category, and the Gamer Xtreme 8500 doesn't disappoint. On the highest settings and at 2560 by 1600 resolution, the Gamer Xtreme 8500 ran our Unreal Tournament 3 benchmark at an impressive 122.1 frames per second. In comparison, the Black Ops Assassin, armed with a pair of nVidia's GTX 480 graphics cards, produced an average of 173.4 fps; the Black Pearl, packing three AMD Radeon HD 5870 cards, racked up 193.9 fps. All of those rates are more or less overkill--anything over 30 fps is generally considered playable. But you can be sure that the Gamer Xtreme 8500 isn't likely to be outpaced anytime soon.
The case feels sturdy, and the system is relatively quiet for a performance machine. In addition to the aforementioned hot-swappable bays, the front of the PC offers a touchscreen LCD panel for controlling the speed of each of the system's fans. You'll also find a multiformat card reader, five USB ports, the expected headphone and microphone jacks, and a pair of eSATA ports.
On the rear, you'll find even more connectivity options: six USB ports, a pair of USB 3.0 ports, a gigabit ethernet connector, an eSATA port, a FireWire port, and a pair of PS/2 ports for your keyboard and mouse. Audio options include optical, S/PDIF, and 7.1-channel audio outputs. And the paired graphics cards offer a total of four DVI ports and two mini-HDMI ports.
If you like spending a bit of time tinkering inside your PC, the Gamer Xtreme 8500 is a good choice. Getting into the case is as easy as removing a pair of thumbscrews on the back, no tools required. Cables are neat and organized, routed through a side panel out of sight and out of the way. That keeps air flowing through the case as efficiently as possible, while making the upgrade process a bit less painful. Thumbscrews hold the optical drive in place, and both hard drives sit on rails for easy and painless removal.
The CyberPower Gamer Xtreme 8500 may not be the cream of the performance-PC crop, but it's still a solid gaming PC for someone on a stricter budget. What it might lack in raw speed, it more than makes up for with a palatable price tag, and it has plenty of room inside to expand as you see fit.